Russian meddling in Ukrainian elections will not result in quick sanctions from the West – expert
Russia will use all the tools at its disposal to intervene in the presidential elections in Ukraine, and Kyiv should use mechanisms to counter this, Director of the Institute of World Policy Yevhen Magda has said in Kyiv.
"For Russia, it is important to undermine confidence in the democratic process, destabilize the situation and, last but not least, avoid possible sanctions from the West," he said, speaking on Wednesday during a round table discussion.
The expert said, "I think that we can assert at the moment that in the event of escalation at any point of the Russian-Ukrainian border, Western sanctions will come quickly, but we cannot say that such sanctions will be implemented quickly if Russia interferes in the Ukrainian elections."
Magda said not only the Ukrainian elections will be the object of influence for the Russian Federation. He also mentioned parliamentary elections in Moldova and elections to the European Parliament.
"Russia is committed, absolutely sincerely, to act in such a way as to put Ukraine in its place... Russia is used to interfering in Ukrainian elections," he said, adding that Russia will use all possible tools to influence the Ukrainian elections.
"First of all, this is the dissemination of information through various media and social networks ... There will be, and today there is, a line about 'peace at any cost.' ... I think there will be cyberattacks on government agencies, which, of course, will have less chance to succeed because Ukraine is now ready for this better than in 2014 when there was interference with computer servers of Ukraine's Central Election Commission," he said.
Magda said Ukraine's western partners will monitor the voting process.
Magda also said that on March 31 there could be attempts made to disrupt the elections in at least one locality in order to subsequently declare that Ukraine is not able to hold elections at the appropriate level. In general, he said, this will not affect the election results, he said.
Magda noted that Ukraine should, above all, ensure the transparency of the election process.
"Society, media, law enforcement officers must promptly respond to attempts to interfere in elections and not be afraid to talk about it ... It is necessary to spread information about possible ways to interfere with the elections. Most importantly, it is necessary to conduct – and not afraid of saying this – a rather aggressive propaganda campaign about democratic values and their meaning, both for the society in Ukraine and Europe," he said.